How to ladder stitch (invisible stitch)

Leggi questo post in: Italiano

How to ladder stitch (or invisible stitch). This hand sewing technique is essential to closing up the openings in sewn projects without any visible threads. Photo and video tutorial on www.cucicucicoo.com

Today’s sewing lesson for the Cucicucicoo Learn to Machine Sew series a little exception because it’s actually hand sewing, not machine sewing. I wasn’t sure whether or not to include it in the course, but in the end decided to because it’s one of those skills that you really do need to know because it’s impossible to get the same result with a sewing machine. And so let’s talk a little about the ladder stitch!

The ladder stitch is also known as the invisible stitch, and is one of the hand sewing stitches that I use the most. It’s incredibly useful for closing up the opening left after turning a project right side out when you want to avoid the visible stitches of topstitching. I use this technique most often when sewing stuffed items, such as softies or pillows, but I’ve also used it in other ways, such as this scarf to winter shrug refashion.

I even have a little treat for you in this lesson: my first video tutorial, in addition to photos! So, let’s get started!

How to ladder stitch (or invisible stitch). This hand sewing technique is essential to closing up the openings in sewn projects without any visible threads. Photo and video tutorial on www.cucicucicoo.com
You’ll need:

  • two pieces of woven cotton scraps, cut into the same size and shape (rectangles are fine)
  • straight pins
  • thread (in a real project it needs to be the same color as the fabric so as to blend in better, but for this example you could use a constrasting color to better see what you are doing)
  • hand sewing needle

How to ladder stitch (or invisible stitch). This hand sewing technique is essential to closing up the openings in sewn projects without any visible threads. Photo and video tutorial on www.cucicucicoo.com

Before I show you how to ladder stitch, let’s first prepare the piece that we will be closing up. We’re basically doing this technique but without the topstitching. Pin the two pieces together, right sides facing. I always mark where my opening will be with two sets of double pins, as you can see above. If possible, position the opening along a straight edge in the least noticeable place.

How to ladder stitch (or invisible stitch). This hand sewing technique is essential to closing up the openings in sewn projects without any visible threads. Photo and video tutorial on www.cucicucicoo.com

Sew around the shape except between the two sets of double pins. Trim the seam allowances and clip/notch all corners and curves. (Need help with clipping and notching? Take a look at this lesson!) I like to leave the seam allowance intact where the opening is to help in folding it inwards.

 How to ladder stitch (or invisible stitch). This hand sewing technique is essential to closing up the openings in sewn projects without any visible threads. Photo and video tutorial on www.cucicucicoo.com

Turn the piece right side out through the opening, push out all the corners and curves and iron flat. Make sure that you’ve turned the seam allowance at the opening inwards.

Then prepare your needle and thread.

 How to ladder stitch (or invisible stitch). This hand sewing technique is essential to closing up the openings in sewn projects without any visible threads. Photo and video tutorial on www.cucicucicoo.com

Before we get started, let’s take a good look at the opening. Notice that the seam allowances go inwards with a nice crisp fold. That fold is really useful for knowing where to insert your needle.

How to ladder stitch (or invisible stitch). This hand sewing technique is essential to closing up the openings in sewn projects without any visible threads. Photo and video tutorial on www.cucicucicoo.com

Insert the needle from the inside of the project so that it comes out right on the fold near one end of the opening (shown as 1 in the photo above). Go directly across the opening and insert just the tip of the needle on the fold at point 2. Pivot the needle so that the tip comes out at point 3, pull the needle out all the way and give a gentle tug to pull the two sides together. The dotted line shows where the thread goes under the fold, between the seam allowance and the fabric.

Continue working like this until you’ve closed up the opening completely.

I thought a video showing this technique would be useful, so I made my first ever video tutorial. Yes, I sort of bungled up my words at times and the phone started ringing at one point, but hey, give me a break! I discovered that it’s a lot harder than I’d imagined to sew with a camera and tripod between you and your work, trying to keep everything in the frame and in focus, and speak coherently at the same time. (And if you want a really huge laugh, you can listen to me explain the technique in Italian! Talk about bungling up words… haha!)

If you want to skip the introduction and go right to where I show the ladder stitch, go to minute 1:05.

How to ladder stitch (or invisible stitch). This hand sewing technique is essential to closing up the openings in sewn projects without any visible threads. Photo and video tutorial on www.cucicucicoo.com

This is what the finished ladder stitch looks like. I didn’t do an absolutely perfect job because of the video-making difficulties, but the stitching is still pretty hidden.

How to ladder stitch (or invisible stitch). This hand sewing technique is essential to closing up the openings in sewn projects without any visible threads. Photo and video tutorial on www.cucicucicoo.com

With a little practice it’s easy to get perfectly even and invisible stitches with this technique, and your world will be opened up to all sorts of fun projects! Including the tutorial that I’ll share with you next for something that I know you’ll love and that I’ve been mass producing for gifts: infinity scarves! So, make sure to come back next week to find out how and, in the meantime, practice your invisible ladder stitch!

And also in the meantime, Merry Christmas!!

Did you enjoy this lesson on how to ladder stitch? Well then, take a look at the other lessons in this beginner’s sewing course!Learn to Machine Sew with Cucicucicoo: a free sewing course for beginners

 

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44 Responses

  1. Tanti auguri per il tuo primo video, come sempre sei bravissima !
    Ma sei italo americana ? Vivi in America ?

  2. Molto utile e chiaro, vado subito a pinnarlo! Ile

  3. Debbie Cooper says:

    This was the best ever video for showing this technique, I have never really understood it until now and this will help me a lot to know how to sew up those holes!

  4. Ciao! bel video e molto utile … finalmente ho capito questo punto!!! Grazie!!
    Ps. Fantastico il tuo accento, un misto tra americano e napoletano! 😀

    • Non avevo idea quante persone avevano difficoltà con questo punto, quindi sono contentissima!
      A Napoli la gente mi guarda strano per l’accento americano, ma quando vado fuori Napoli, la gente mi guarda ancora più strano perché fanno ancora più fatica a capire quale caspita di accento è!

  5. Interessante ! Se posso, in che stato degli Stati Uniti sei vissuta ?
    Semplice curiosità e fascinazione verso l ‘ America…

  6. Very nice tuto for all passionate people !!

  7. Lezione molto interesting…grazie e brava. Mi eri simpatica ma con questo video ora lo sei anche di più. Kiss.

    • Grazie, Lucrezia! In effetti, anch’io sono sempre contenta di sentire la voce e vedere come si muovono gli autori di blog che mi piacciono, e quando capita quasi sempre mi affeziono a loro ancora di più!

  8. Grazie per questo tutorial! L’ho usato proprio ieri sera per chiudere un cuscinetto imbottito. Non ho guardato il video, mi è bastata l’immagine con il percorso del filo; il video lo guarderò, però, con calma: voglio ‘conoscerti’ meglio! :) Ah, hai fatto benissimo ad includere questo tutorial nel corso per cucire a macchina: come giustamente hai detto, è un passaggio obbligato quando non si può finire tutto con la macchina da cucire. Grazie ancora. Giuliana

    • Sono contenta che questo tutorial non è stato respinto dai miei lettori come non parte del corso a macchina, e sono contenta che ti è stata utile quell’immagine. In realtà, l’ho fatta all’ultimo momento perché mi sembrava che ci voleva!

  9. This is such a lovely and clear explanation. Perfect for beginners to learn from.

  10. Francesca says:

    Splendido tutorial, come tutti gli altri! Ma tu…sei americana? Io adoro gli Stati Uniti, ci sono stata solo una volta, proprio a Boston, ma è bastato a farmi innamorare! E poi forse, noi italiani, abbiamo il sogno dell’America perché cresciamo guardando film girati in America che ci fanno sognare…
    Comunque, grazie ancora per questo utilissimo tutorial, in effetti non sapevo proprio come fare per chiudere questo tipo di cuciture!

    • Grazie Francesca! Sì, sono Americana, di Boston… non si capisce dall’accento?! Hehe! 😉 Sì, è proprio così, lo dice sempre mio marito, che andare negli Stati Uniti è come vedere tutto come nei film che si vedono!
      Sono contenta che hai trovato utile questo tutorial. Io uso questa tecnica molto spesso!

  11. Ho sempre pensato che il punto invisibile fosse una specie di magia
    Grazie, grazie, grazie per avermi mostrato il trucco. Avevo visto altri tutorial, ma col tuo video é chiarissimo.

    • Per me è una specie di magia perché funziona così bene! Sono contenta che il video te l’ha chiarito. Dovrò fare più video, perché a volte sono molto più utili rispetto alle foto!

  12. I’ve found it helps to prepare the opening by sewing just inside the seam line (just on the opening area) before sewing the two pieces together. It makes it easier to turn under and guides your stitches.

  13. I’ve been sewing for 55+ years but always shy away from hand sewing. This was sooooo helpful! Can’t wait to try it. You did a great job. Thank you!

    • It’s funny how so many of us tend to avoid hand sewing as much as possible, isn’t it, Cathy? I tend to, too, but when I actually do hand sew, I love the control and how relaxing it is!

  14. Pamela Joy says:

    This is SO helpful! I’ve been learning to sew bags and this would look much better for finishing up the lining. I, like most, hate hand stitching because mine always looks so sloppy. This will help me a lot! Thank you so much for posting!

    • Hooray! I’m so glad that it was helpful, Pamela! Yes, I also dislike how messy my hand stitching generally looks when compared to machine stitching (plus it takes forever!), but the invisible stitch is wonderful and, if done right, can’t be seen at all!

  15. Alice watson says:

    Your video was easier to follow than many more experienced video ‘makers.’. Thank you. I can now do a ladder stitch. I am wondering if I should be concerned about the small knot at the end showing. Can it be pulled thru to the inside with a tug?. Or don’t worry about it?. Thx again. Very interesting.

    • Yah! That makes me happy, Alice! The knot should really barely show. It is possible to pull it through, like you say, with a gentle tug, but I honestly don’t bother because I worry about tugging too hard and pulling on the stitches.

  16. Hi I just stopped by to say I am 62, I have been sewing since I was 5 years old, started sewing on a treadle sewing machine. I have NEVER liked hand sewing. I now do a lot of In-the-hoop bibs,bags and stuffies that require closing the opening where they are turned. I am so glad you made this video I am a visual learner (I have dyslexia) and You done an excellent job with your video, better than most I have watched of more experience. I have already tried your example and I LOVE it!!! I will be sharing your example since I know there are “new” crafters that do not know how to use this stitch as well. Thanks again, evelyn

    • Oh, thank you, Evelyn! That makes me feel so good, that I am able to help even ladies like you with so many more years of sewing experience than I have! I am so glad that the video helped you! I usually prefer photo tutorials myself, because I hate having to pause and go back to see things a million times, but I realize that there are some techniques that it’s just so much easier to see in movement. That’s how I am with a lot of knitting and crochet tutorials, so I know what you mean! Thanks for commenting and hope to see you again here! :)

      • I’m back and I want you to know I shared your tutorial with my Facebook group I am a member of “Nonnienoo Creations” where we make stuffies, baby bibs and bags, items that are made in the hoop embroidery and require being closed the way that you demonstrated it in your tutorial. It’s exactly what we needed for this!!! The members there are very appreciative of your tutorial. Goes to show you are never to old to learn something new :) Thanks again, Eveyn

  17. Yektaparto says:

    Thanks , that was i was looking for !

  18. Barbara Macey says:

    I think you did an amazing job for your first tutorial. Thank You ever so much for the clear demonstration of The Ladder Stitch; I learned this in Home Economics (Home Ec) when it as taught in high school. Through the years I’ve forgotten how to “start” the stitch through the fold & I’ve missed using it for the perfect finish for projects. I’ve already pressed the seam on a blouse cuff & am ready for the finishing LADDER STITCH–hooray!

    • That’s great, Barbara! A lot of people have told me that they learned this in school, but I never actually had Home Ec and learned it as an adult. And thank goodness, because it looks SO much better than the whipstitch that my mother taught me years ago!
      And thank you! I definitely want to make some more video tutorials, but my computer is a bit bogged down, so I have to clear it out a bit so that it can handle dealing with videos again!

  19. Deb
    Thank you so much. I have been sewing for years but have never known how to do the invisible stitch

Trackbacks

  1. […] actually meant to create this tutorial months ago, but I first wanted to publish a sewing lesson on how to sew the ladder stitch by hand. If using a single fabric, all you need to do is sew two seams with the sewing machine, then close […]

  2. […] How To Ladder Stitch | Tutorial for hand sewing ladder stitch […]

  3. […] can’t do without a bit of hand sewing, such as when you need to close up openings with the ladder stitch. I suggest getting a package of assorted hand needle sizes, that way you’ll always be ready […]

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